Organize Your Desk 1

Do You Need to Organize Your Desk?

Desk in DistressDesks.

They sort of have a way of getting away from us, don’t they? At least some of us.

But a disorganized workspace can cause stress and cost you money, for instance when that unopened bill lies buried on your desk and doesn’t get paid on time.

But there is a little secret you should know at the outset . . .

Eighty percent of what is on it now, is probably not where it belongs.

Go ahead. If your desk isn’t up to your standards, take a look. Magazines, open boxes from “stuff”, empty bottles and more.

Much of this is stuff is desperately seeking its home.

Now, a brief article can’t do justice to a topic as vast as getting organized but, it can help you make a start.


Here are some tips to help get that beast under control

You will need a filing system

A filing cabinet is ideal but, you could use a “milk crate” storage system if that is better for you. It is a very inexpensive way to go and provides for expansion.

Supplies you will need include:

  • Pendaflex folders
  • Third Cut folders
  • A pad and some pens
  • Stapler, staple pick, letter opener, etc

Optional but worthwhile is some sort of a label printer. I use a Brother P-Touch to make labels for folders. Using a system like this, allows me to reuse folders just by putting a new label on top of an old one.


You Will Need Some Time

Here is where the fun starts.

Create The System

It is often helpful to set up folders first for things you know you are going to want to keep together before you begin in earnest.

You should already have some idea of how you want to group your information for filing the stuff you decide to keep, if you take a few minutes to think about it. Does the information you are looking to organize seem to “clump”? By that, I mean you probably have a bunch of docs for one subject and another bunch for another subject. For instance, you might make folders for things like: bills or accounting, business forms, professional associations or competition. What sort of information do you keep? It’s really okay if you decide another type of clumping, oops, I mean organizing, suits you better than the one you originally thought. You can change your mind as to how you systemize your stuff.

You will undoubtedly need some places for special things. I suggest initially, just make one pile for things that strike you as “important” items. You can then just work on these important items when the bulk of the cleaning is done.

You will also want a folder called “Reading”. That will allow you to do what I call “flip and tear”, where you look through magazines for articles you want to read, and tear out those of interest for later reading. Now the old magazines can go away. You have what you need.

Go To Town

First off, take care of any items that are big or bulky. Attend to whatever they need to have done. If it would require too much time (a significant distraction from your original task), write the task on a page on a page labeled “To Do” or, if lists really turn you off, put the task on a piece of paper and put it in your important pile.

Next, put books away and take any magazines and either flip and tear (see above) or, it if is the current month of the magazine, put it aside for later reading. Anything else, throw away, er, recycle.

Now, take everything left on your desk and put it together with any other piles of “stuff” you have. While you are at it, be sure all your little scraps of paper are in this witches brew.You want to be sure when you are done, you have covered all bases.

Take one item at a time and put it in it’s proper place. If something can be done in a minute or two, do it! There is more overhead in moving that item around over and over again than it is worth. Just get it done! Rinse and repeat until done.

When you begin each item will either go into an existing folder or, you will have to decide whether the item is a candidate for a new folder. If you are unsure, just put it aside and worry later. Keeping moving without distraction is the point now.

Here is the trick. Try filing the folders alphabetically initially! Often, even with a lot of folders, the info you need is pretty easily searchable, as long as the organization framework is YOURS! Since you set it up, and you put items into the folder, you are more likely to remember which folder you put it.

As you progress, add to your “to do” list everything you discover that you need to do and anything else you think of to do. Once it’s done, you can cross it off the list.

When you have finished you will have created a organizing framework that you can use and a to do list of important tasks.

As I said, there is much more to the subject, but after a few hours of working at this exercise, you will be well on your way to a more organized personal life and desk!

Good Luck


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One thought on “Organize Your Desk

  • Sandy Chiefa

    Thanks Den,
    You should see Farrell’s desk. It makes me crazy. We’ll try this but I don’t know if it’s going to last.Everything seems to make it’s way
    back on the desk again in a couple of weeks.